The following post contains spoilers for the February 15 episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.
Oh, honey, as this episode was wrapping up I had a whole screed ready about how this had turned into RuPaul’s Best Friend Race after all and it was totally unfair and how an alliance of Kennedy Davenport, Shangela, and Chi Chi DeVayne had taken over the show and were just picking the other queens off one by one. After all, the edit led us to believe that Trixie Mattel was going to be the one going home. Why else would she be getting so much attention this episode and talking about how she gets so worked up over being on Drag Race?
In a shocking twist, both BenDeLaCreme and Shangela won the challenge. (I love that this show is so stingy that they can’t come up with an extra $10,000 for two winners and instead make them split the original purse.) In an even more shocking twist, they both pulled out their lipsticks and sent Chi Chi home.
It was well past her time. Chi Chi was certainly Roxxxy Andrews 2: This Time It’s Personal, being dragged through the competition by her friends even though she was in the bottom every single week. Just like Roxxxy, Chi Chi has a certain charm about her, even though her outfits never really slay, she’s never a great actress, and sort of fails at the challenges. For being a bad contestant, I still love Chi Chi.
We all have to admit her performance as Mya—oh, I’m sorry, I meant Maya—Angelou in the Snatch Game was one of the all time disasters of this show. It seemed like Chi Chi wasn't even sure who she really was. She had a similar problem last week in The Bitchelor competition where she tried to improv and fell on her face so hard that it left it flatter than a phone book in a hydraulic press. Chi Chi doesn’t need to be the best or the funniest to succeed at these. She just needs to pick one aspect of her character, blow it out of proportion, and sail to safety. What do you think BeBe Zahara Benet has been doing all season? Instead she just kind of kept her head in the clouds and did nothing.
This Snatch Game was a bit of a mess before we even got to the game show. For some reason Ru brought Marc Jacobs into the work room and he did absolutely nothing. He didn’t give them fashion notes, he didn’t ask funny questions, he just stood there looking rich and famous and lending a little bit of his halo to the show. Or maybe he was there planning another ten-person orgy with the cast. Who knows?
The first indication that it was going to go wrong was when Trixie said that she was going to impersonate RuPaul. Immediately we all knew this was going to go very right or very, very wrong. Naturally it was the latter. As Shangela correctly pointed out, this is all of the fans’ fault for telling Trixie that her RuPaul impersonation is hilarious when she did it in multiple YouTube videos. RuPaul has so many catchphrases and iconic moments on the show it’s easy to parody, but Trixie just wasn’t quick enough or funny enough to really pull it off in this context. A little bit of RuPaul goes a long way, and that is all the way to the bank, mother!
What some of these queens don’t understand is that they’re really playing to an audience of one and it is RuPaul. That is why Ben’s choice of Paul Lynde was absolutely genius. Yes, he had to explain it for everyone under 50 watching this show (and if you’re still scratching your head about it, here are some of his best moments on Hollywood Squares) but RuPaul is old enough to know who Lynde is and absolutely love him. It didn’t hurt that Ben had his costume, voice, and mannerisms down pat. This girl did her homework.
The same goes for Shangela’s choice of Jennifer Lewis. She’s not really a household name (though she is hysterical) nor is she as well known as Shangela’s original idea of doing TV psychic Miss Cleo. But RuPaul sure knows Jennifer Lewis, mostly likely loves her, and even more likely has been to dinner at her house. (I would also guess that Brandy was in attendance too.) As soon as RuPaul clocked Shangela’s Miss Cleo accent as sounding a little too Irish she was right to flee to something she knew she could hit out of the park and, more importantly, would make Ru laugh.
I thought Aja’s Crystal LaBeija was very underrated, especially if you know her classic scene from the documentary The Queen. Everyone at home was probably getting their phones out to do some googling, but Ru knows her drag history. The only people these queens are really playing for is the queen whose name is in the title. Anyone who forgets that (cough, Trixie) is doomed to failure.
BeBe Zahara Benet continued to float by with her Grace Jones impersonation, which, as her costars feared, she wasn’t able to really make funny. Grace Jones is more about a look than she is about ever saying anything, so BeBe just hammered her one note right into the ground. Kennedy might have won Snatch Game in her season, but her Phaedra Parks was just bad. I’m a bit of a Real Housewives expert and Kennedy didn’t have Phaedra’s look, style of dress, voice, or mannerisms down at all. It’s almost impossible to do a Real Housewife on Snatch Game unless it’s someone like NeNe Leakes, Bethenny Frankel, or Vicki Gunvalson.
After the Snatch Game, they breezed through their floral looks on the main stage. I wish we could have lingered a bit more on Aja’s giant floral candle look, Shangela’s genius recreation of Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement Instagram, and Ben’s dress that was a bunch of little orchids hanging off of a dress that was a giant orchid. It was probably the best that Ben has looked on the runway since her transforming praying mantis dress from her original season. Kennedy’s outfit, covered in sunflowers and looking like the placemat at a Cracker Barrel somewhere in the squarest of red states, was one of the ugliest things I have ever seen on Drag Race. Kennedy’s look is always too much, but not in a cool interesting way like Trixie’s over-embellished look that made her look like a Victorian garden swing come to life. Kennedy has found a way to make excess look tacky, and I will never forgive her for it.
Ben and Shangela were in the top and they had to decide between Chi Chi, Trixie, and Kennedy. Chi Chi was obviously the right choice, since she’d been in the bottom every week. Trixie, it turns out, is the best drag queen who is horrible at RuPaul’s Drag Race. She’s funny and charming, but has a horrible time translating that to the context of what this show demands.
In the lip sync, Shangela came out looking like a gay librarian at the chicest university on Earth. She had reveals planned, her wig to unfurl, lingerie to show off, and a box of Altoids hidden in her snatch to throw at Ben as they performed to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” Ben played off her expertly, but could barely keep up. Shangela came to win and she’s playing like it. With a handful of mediocre queens left, I wouldn’t be surprised if the final lip sync for the crown was a repeat of what we saw tonight.
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